It’s June, so it’s got to be herring!

Bismarck and Matjes

Bismarck and Matjes herring rolls, with the all-important liquid lubrication.

Here at Helsing’s kitchen we are feeling very mittel-European. That’s because it is the season for that very essence of middle-European food: herring. Even down at our local beach bar, which is very much a chips-beer-and-bratwurst kind of place, you can always get a herring roll. It’s a fast-food staple as much loved as burgers and currywurst in this part of the world. The herring that goes into the roll is what we know in English as soused herring. But, it gets more complicated. Our beach bar serves two kinds of herring roll: Matjes herring or Bismarck herring. The Matjes herring is slightly saltier and is served with onion rings. The Bismarck herring is less salty and is served with onion and pickled cucumber.   Continue reading


Pies, pints and beer wars in Brandenburg.


meat pie

A pie … and a glass of red.

Here at Helsing’s kitchen, we were planning to make a cherry and ricotta pie using Rachel Roddy’s recipe. But the weather has derailed us, twice. First, back in April, a hard frost meant the crop of local Brandenburg cherries and plums was wiped out – the cherries in the local shops are generally from Turkey. At least the apples, which blossom later, survived the unusually low temperatures. Second, the temperatures right now mean it is anything but cherry pie weather. It’s blustery, overcast and cool, around 18 degrees with the first sun forecast around 9 o’clock this evening. That sounds a little late but makes sense this far north just four days away from the shortest night of the year. Continue reading

Helsing’s summer kitchen is open!

chicken salad on the balcony

A hot chicken salad on the balcony.

Here at Helsing’s kitchen we effectively have a new kitchen. We are cooking outside, on the balcony, on gas. And how great is that! Does cooking outside, on a real flame, stir ancient connections to a simpler life? Whatever the attraction might be, there is nothing like cooking on gas for its speed of reaction. Team Helsing’s indoor kitchens are electric – and induction still doesn’t come close. Continue reading